OLD ORCHARD BEACH — Judging by the number of people, it would have been easy to mistake the scene by The Pier on Sunday morning for the middle of a mid-summer day — for someone without a watch.

Around 6:45 a.m., the first of 1,100 athletes participating in the Revolution3 triathlon began to emerge from the water. They ran through the crowd of cheering onlookers, who were lined up in the sand with cameras and cowbells.

Among them was Philippe Jacques, who was keeping an eye out for his girlfriend and dozens of other teammates from his triathlon club in Montreal. But he had encouraging words for everyone.

“No. 4, let’s go. Catch them! Good job, No. 5,” Jacques yelled to some of the early leaders, before taking off up Old Orchard Street to catch up to a teammate who was about to start his bike ride. “Let’s go, let’s go. Good job. Go, guys.”

Revolution3, based in Virginia, organized its first triathlon in 2008 and this year is hosting 11 events. The company has been working with Tri-Maine founder Will Thomas for years trying to bring a race to Old Orchard Beach, said Ashley Quinn, director of operations for Revolution3. It finally came together this year, she said, and most likely will continue.

“There’s no reason we wouldn’t (come back),” Quinn said.

The company’s races — and substantial purses — draw athletes from around the globe, and the Old Orchard Beach triathlon was no different, fielding about 40 professionals.

The first person to cross the finish line, earning $4,500, was 32-year-old Jesse Thomas of Eugene, Ore., whose total time of 1 hour, 49 minutes was 2 minutes ahead of the next finisher, South Aftrican Conrad Stoltz.

The winner of the past two Wildflower triathlons in California, Thomas had run in four Revolution3 races, but had never won before.

Mike Caiazzo, a professional athlete from Westbrook, finished in 2 hours and 2 minutes, just seconds ahead of first-place female finisher Lauren Goss of South Carolina.

The professional athletes and about 500 others competed in the Olympic distance race — a 0.9-mile swim, 25-mile bike ride and 6.2-mile run.

The rest participated in the longer triathlon — the distance of a half-Ironman — which comprised a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run.

Revolution3 designates one of the two triathlons as the professional race, Quinn said. On Sunday, it was the shorter one.

Heather Farrell of Old Orchard Beach held a sign with the names of her two friends running the longer race and the number 70.3, for the miles they would cover.

Her friends were both multi-sport athletes in college — Christina Crackolici of Biddeford played at Thomas College in Waterville and Renee Towne of Saco played at the University of Southern Maine.

“They’re both so darn competitive,” Farrell said. “They’re constantly training for something. It’s great to see all of their hard work pay off.”

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at: 791-6364 or at

[email protected]

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